A waitress (illustrative photo).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hadash MK Dov Henin (Joint List) on Monday submitted a bill that would forbid restaurants from counting tips toward waiter salaries, thus requiring them to pay minimum wage.
“This is a historic bill that will put an end to exploitation in the waitering industry,” said the bill’s backers, which include the Waiters Association.
The bill also would require restaurants to pay waiters on standby for shifts and prevent the restaurateurs from delaying starting times for waiters.
To help compensate restaurants, the legislation would propose a certain measure of tax breaks in the first five years of the law’s implementation.
Should the bill pass, it could upend the system of tip-based wages or eliminate tipping in Israel’s restaurants altogether.
According to the group Waiters with Dignity, about 70 percent of waiters earn less than NIS 4,000 a month, below the current minimum wage of NIS 4,650, though the study did not specify if the servers were full-time employees. Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics showed similar wages for food and beverage service in recent years.
The group also said 90% of servers don’t get paid for standby hours; 56% don’t get reimbursed for travel expenses; and 60% received false pay slips.
“It cannot be that 100,000 waiters are working without a base salary and without the social rights required by every employer in Israel,” said Waiters Association founder Alon Green.
The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, Israel’s largest pro-business lobbying group, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.